The following is an edited excerpt.
Early heart disease ran in Rick Del Sontro’s family, and every time he went for a run, he was scared his heart would betray him. So he did all he could to improve his odds. He kept himself lean, stayed away from red meat, spurned cigarettes and exercised intensely, even completing an ISeeking Clues to Heart Disease in DNA of an Unlucky Familyronman Triathlon.
But after his sister, just 47 years old, found out she had advanced heart disease, Mr. Del Sontro, then 43, and the president of Zippy Shell, a self-storage company, went to a cardiologist.
An X-ray of his arteries revealed the truth. Like his grandfather, his mother, his four brothers and two sisters, he had heart disease. (One brother, Michael, has not received a diagnosis of the disease.)